Lucia Zarate, the Mexican Lilliputian
Today is the birthday of Lucia Zarate (1864-1890), one of the tiniest people ever recorded since civilization started keeping track of such things. Born in San Carlos, Mexico, her growth leveled off in when she was one year old. When she was 17 years old she weighed 4.7 pounds.
At age 12, she came to the U.S. with her father to be exhibited, using the title “the Mexican Lilliputian”. At 20 inches tall, it was said that Tom Thumb was a giant next to her. She often appeared on a bill with General Mite, and like many of the so-called “freaks” of her day, she amassed a small fortune by being exhibited. Sadly she perished in 1890 when the circus train on which she was travelling became snowed in, in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
To find out more about the variety arts past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold. And don’t miss Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, to be released by Bear Manor Media in 2013.